One of the best things about living in Tampa is getting to experience all of the incredible sunsets. As an avid sunset watcher myself, I know some of the best places to go to get the full, breathtaking experience you might be looking for! So for all you sunset fanatics, here is a list of some of the best local places to watch a Tampa Bay sunset (and we’ve included a few sunrise options, too!).
Updated March, 2023 by Zoë Joiner.
Best Places to Watch a Tampa Bay Sunset Together
Enjoying a beautiful sunset together is one of the best parts of living in Florida – visiting too. Summer sunsets tend to get all the attention but sunset times get earlier in the evening starting in September, making it nice to enjoy the sunset during dinner time or even happy hour.
While Clearwater is known to be a notoriously busy beach, it is also known for its breathtaking sunsets. If you don’t want to stay on the physical beach you can go enjoy Pier 60, which is a massive boardwalk. Make the most of your visit by checking out Sunsets at Pier 60, a nightly sunset celebration with street performers. The celebration begins an hour before sunset and continues until an hour past sundown.
If you want to spend the day at the beach, check out the resort day pass available for the nearby Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa. Day passes include beach and pool access, a discount on bike rentals and more. The resort is located within walking distance of Pier 60.
More favorite beach spots for soaking up a sunset:
- Honeymoon Island State Park
- Anna Maria Island Beaches
- Madeira Beach
- Ben T. Davis Beach
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
Located right downtown and framed by the University of Tampa, this popular downtown park is stretched out on about eight acres of land. Grab a blanket and have a picnic on the Great Lawn to watch the sun sink down behind the university.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is also home to the monthly Rock the Park Tampa outdoor concert series. This free in-person live music event that’s perfect for a budget-friendly date night.
M. Bird Rooftop Bar
Thanks to its west-facing location and elevated rooftop digs, M. Bird, within Armature Works, is one of the most coveted downtown spots for soaking up sunset views on the horizon with a cocktail in hand. Hitch a ride on the Pirate Water Taxi or stroll the Tampa Riverwalk to get there and grab dinner from one of the vendors inside of Heights Public Market before heading upstairs for your sunset toast.
Check out these other rooftop bars in Tampa for more sunset viewing with a drink in hand.
Azure at The Tampa EDITION Hotel
New to Tampa Bay as of October, 2022, is EDITION Hotel. This luxury hotel is home to Azure Mediterranean restaurant – a gorgeous rooftop, poolside setting sure to impress. Drinks and small bites are available at some very cool poolside daybeds.
From the Water
There’s nothing quite like soaking up a Tampa Bay sunset right from the water. For the ultimate sunset date, book two seats on a local sunset tour.
A few of our favorites are Get Up and Go Kayaking Tampa Bay’s Shell Key Sunset & Glow Tour, out of Tierra Verde, which features clear kayaks and LED lights to illuminate the water after dark (read about our experience on another of their awesome tours HERE).
If you’re in the city and want to cruise downtown, Tampa Bay Funboat‘s sunset cruises depart outside the Convention Center and allow you to bring your own libations (with valid I.D.). If dolphin watching excites you, head to the Dunedin Marina for a sunset cruise on the 47’ ParrotDise Express, which provides a “superior dolphin sighting experience”.
Davis Islands Beach
One of my personal favorite places to watch the sunset is Davis Islands Beach. Framed by anchored boats, this small beach has plenty of space to bring a couple of friends or to enjoy with your significant other. If you want to see the beach sunset from another angle, sit on the rocks.
Have a dog? Bring your pup along to splash and play at the dog beach.
Want to dine with spectacular sunset views? Located at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, Oystercatchers makes for a romantic date to dine and watch the sunset. This upscale restaurant features a dockside lounge, outdoor deck & seating, a private beach, and an interior that is framed by large windows.
Located right on the Courtney Campbell Causeway near the airport, Whiskey Joe’s is a great place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the sunset. Sit indoors, outside on the spacious deck, or listen to live music from the outdoor stage at the beach bar. The restaurant is structured on a peninsula surrounded by the bay so you will have plenty of room to get that cute sunset pic for the ‘gram.
Want to enjoy the sunset from the beach? Their private beach has plenty of lounge chairs and space to play cornhole while sipping a cocktail. Or, stroll right next door to the public Ben T. Davis Beach for scenic views.
Ballast Point Park
Located right at the end of Bayshore Blvd, Ballast Point Park is an ideal place to watch the sunrise. Soak in views of the downtown skyline and the rich colors reflecting off of the water in the bay. If you have time to spare, stroll the fishing pier that takes you far out into the bay and watch for dolphin.
The Hurricane Rooftop Bar
Just down from The Don CeSar on St. Pete Beach in Pass-A-Grille lies the Hurricane Restaurant & Rooftop Bar. Take in stunning 360 degree views of the beach and bay while the sun sinks down over the water and listen for the sunset bell, which has rung at sunset every night for over 22 years.
To make your experience extra special, contact the Head Ding Dong (yep, that’s what he calls himself) to ring the bell yourself with your sweetheart and become a part of Pass-a-Grille’s rich history.
Impress your date and toast to the sunset from the 11th floor of the Bellwether Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach at Level 11‘s wraparound outdoor terrace. Perks include front row seats to watch the sun set over the Gulf, a robust drink menu and shareable apps. If you want to make it an overnight, this bar is less than a 5-minute walk from Postcard Inn On The Beach and TradeWinds Island Grand Resort.
- 360 Rooftop Lounge at The Hotel Zamora, also on St. Pete Beach
Opal Sands Waterfront Sandbar
If you want to spend all day on the beach but grab a bite to eat while enjoying the sunset, then check out the Sandbar located at Opal Sands Resort in Clearwater. Situated right on the water, this massive tiki hut covers the bar if you are looking for a cool and shady spot with sunset views.
Salt Shack on the Bay
Joining the Tampa Westshore Marina district in 2019, Salt Shack on the Bay boasts locally-caught seafood and has unobstructed westerly views overlooking Old Tampa Bay, perfect for sunset-watching. Its prime location just south of the Gandy bridge is also accessible by sea, making it the perfect spot for dinner after a day out on the boat.
“Dock up or drive up” to their casual, waterfront restaurant and tiki bar, and enjoy a tasty cocktail while listening to live music.
Bonus: dolphin sightings are common.
Feature image credit: Get Up and Go Kayaking Tampa Bay
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